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Nick Punto has been pleasant surprise for Dodgers

Nick Punto on Friday will become the 1,487th player in major league history (1871-present) to play in 1,000 games.


The Dodgers haven't yet won a game in May, but it hasn't been a complete and total disaster. There have been a few bright spots, such as Nick Punto, who leads the Dodgers in extra-base hits this month.

Then again, that is probably a huge reason why the Dodgers are 0-7 in May.

But Punto has been magnificent, stepping in at second base for the injured Mark Ellis and filling in occasionally at third base as well. Punto has played all seven games and started six this month, has three doubles and a home run, and is hitting .308/.400/.538. He also leads the team in May in runs scored (four), runs batted in (five), and walks (four).

Injuries have forced Punto into playing more than the Dodgers envisioned during spring training.

"Going into the season you don't plan on playing Nick Punto six days a week," manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday. "You feel like you're better off if he plays three."

But Punto's performance and injuries to Ellis and Jerry Hairston have boosted playing time for the utility man. He is hitting .361/.451/.475 this season, and this is after putting up a .390 on-base percentage after the trade last Aug. 25. Maybe that trade with the Red Sox was The Punto Trade after all.

"Nick has been one of our most consistent guys. He makes all the plays wherever he is at. He gets hits from both sides of the plate. He walks, sees a lot of pitches. He's been great."

Punto is starting at third base Friday night, his 15th overall start of the year and his ninth start in the last 11 games.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: It depends!

MLB Gameday